Summer began only a couple days ago, but hockey season will be in full swing over the next few days.
First, I’ll be checking in with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins GM Bill Guerin to get his thoughts on a couple topics, including the draft, player evaluations from last season and a look at team needs with free agency set to begin July 1. So, keep an eye out for that.
In the meantime, Pittsburgh released its schedule and roster for its annual development camp in Cranberry. A lot of names among the 41 invitees will be familiar to Penguins fans.
Defensemen Calen Addison and Jon Lizotte; forwards Jordy Bellerive, Chase Berger, Jan Drozg, Brandon Hawkins and Jake Lucchini; and goaltender Alex D’Orio all stepped on the ice for WBS at the end of last season.
The list also includes all of Pittsburgh’s selections at last weekend’s draft, including forward Samuel Poulin.
Oh, and don’t be confused seeing Matt Murray at goaltender. It’s not the two-time Stanley Cup winner, but a 21-year-old netminder from UMass-Amherst.
I am excited, in particular, to see how forward Bellerive, goaltenders D’Orio and Emil Larmi and defenseman Niclas Almari fare. Depending on what Pittsburgh decides to do with Tristan Jarry, both Larmi and D’Orio can be fighting for a significant role with WBS. Almari looked good during the Penguins’ playoff series in 2018.
Addison, of course, won’t start the year in PA but is the big-name prospect in the system.
All practices are open to the public and free, so if you happen to be near Pittsburgh and need something to do since Kennywood’s Steel Curtain roller coaster has not opened yet, stop on in.
And in case you missed it, the Penguins made a rash of signings last week, including Lizotte, Matt Abt, Blake Siebenaler, Macoy Erkamps, Renars Krastenbergs and Ryan Scarfo. My instincts say that Abt and Scarfo are the most likely to stay and have a significant role early, but time will tell.
That’s all for now; hope you’ve enjoyed the spring.
Tyler Piccotti has covered the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for Times-Shamrock newspapers since 2017. In the Penguins Insider blog, he provides a look at NEPA’s only professional hockey team, sharing analysis and insights that go beyond the game sheet. A 2015 graduate of Syracuse University, he also has written for Bleacher Report, The Post-Standard and Lacrosse Magazine. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-821-2000; @CVPiccotti